By Katharine Morley – In my wildest dreams, I would never have imagined that taekwondo would get me into a movie. But that is exactly what happened when a Disney Channel movie crew came to town, and at the last minute found themselves in need of an 11-year-old girl who can do martial arts.
On September 27, 2018, I got to play the role of Karate Girl in an upcoming movie called Puppy Prep Academy. It was an awesome experience.
But what does taekwondo have to do with a puppy movie, you might ask? Let me walk you through my day on the set and see if you can make some connections.
Full of excitement, and some nerves as well, my Dad and I drove into the parking lot of the movie location. We walked up to the home base of the movie workers – which is called the ‘circus’ in movie lingo. We met some very kind people there who arranged a shuttle to transport us to the ‘set’ – where the movie was being filmed. Once we arrived on set, I got my make-up and hair done. That made me feel like an actor. We met a lot of people in the first half hour of our visit. First impressions are important, and I didn’t forget my manners and respect.
There is a lot of waiting involved in showbiz. A lot. I had to wait a very long four hours before it was time to play my part. But while I was waiting, I got free snacks!!! On set, there was a snack cart, and it was amazing. There were big cookies, little cookies, chips and salsa, bagels, candy, and someone even made a cake! That was a time where I truly had to use my self-control (although it was challenging to resist, and I admit to having just a few snacks).
When it was finally my turn, I got to meet the director. Do you remember when I said I was playing the part of Karate Girl? Well, never mind about the name, I got to show them taekwondo. The Director asked to see some cool kicks. I showed her a couple of tornado kicks, and she was ecstatic. She seemed to love the kicks and blocks I was doing. That flattered me very much. Unfortunately, the Assistant Director had in mind that he only wanted me to punch. At first, I was a little disappointed, because kicks are cool. But I didn’t let that get me down. The directors are the bosses, so I did my punches.
I was the only person featured in that short 10-second scene, which was super cool. However, there were about 30 other crew members in the same little room, all with a different job. It took three or four takes to do my scene, which all-in-all wasn’t that long. In-between each take the hair lady would zip in and fix up my hair. The lighting technicians changed the lighting and attached a new light to the ceiling. Other crew members gave me footing marks and adjusted the camera so that it was the same height as my fist.
After that, I was done! My Dad and I said our goodbyes and were shuttled back to the circus parking lot. My movie experience was short and sweet, but I will never forget it.
I would never have had this experience without taekwondo. And taekwondo gave me a solid foundation to perform well. My instructors and Masters have taught me a lot in two and a half years. I have learned to be patient, strong and confident. I have also learned to be ready for any situation that arises. And I’ve made some new friends along the way. I used all these experiences and more during my day on set.
Thank you, Cascadia Martial Arts Victoria!